Edmund Gerstein

  • Director Marine Mammal Research
  • Psychology Department
  • 561-809-9185
  • egerste1@fau.edu
  • Boca Raton - Behavioral Sciences, BS-12


Education:  BS, Zoology & Entomology, Colorado State University
MS, Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University
Ph.D., Psychobiology, Florida Atlantic University

Research Interests

Ethology, animal cognition, sensory biology, psychophysics, underwater acoustics and animal bioacoustics. 

Current basic research is focused on the ontogeny of vocal behavior in North Atlantic right whales and the underlying acoustic causes of ship strikes and vessel collisions with marine mammals.  Interdisciplinary applied research entails mitigating impacts from anthropogenic activities and noise on marine mammal biology, behavior, habitats and behavioral ecology. 

Sponsors include:  U.S. Department of Defense, Legacy Natural Resource Management Program,  Office of Naval Research, Army Corps of Engineers,  Florida Inland Navigation District and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Research Description

Psychoacoustic investigations of the West Indian manatee have defined the manatees’ overall hearing abilities including their behavioral audiogram, critical masking ratios, and directional hearing.  The work demonstrates the challenges manatees have detecting approaching boats and barges in their shallow water habitat.  A parametric acoustic alarm designed to exploit the manatees best hearing abilities and alert them of approaching vessels has been successfully tested.

Passive acoustic monitoring studies are being conducted with North Atlantic right whales in the critical southeast calving habitat off the coast of Florida and Georgia.  The call repertoire of surface active groups has been catalogued and analyzed with respect to structure, behavior and call affinity.  The ontogeny of vocal communication between mothers and calves has been investigated over seven field seasons, revealing developmental aspects of behavior including the emergence various call types, their spectral characterizations and frequency of use.


Recent Publications

Gerstein, E. R., Trygonis, V., & Moir, J. B. (2017). Vocal behavior and ontogeny of Northern right whales in the southeast critical habitat. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141(5), 4002-4002.

Esfahanian, M., Erdol, N., Gerstein, E., & Zhuang, H. (2017). Two-stage detection of North Atlantic right whale upcalls using local binary patterns and machine learning algorithms. Applied Acoustics, 120, 158-166.

Gerstein, E. R., & Gerstein, L. A. (2017). Environmentally friendly parametric alarm for alerting marine mammals of approaching vessels. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141(5), 3689-3689.

Gerstein, E. R., Trygonis, V., McCulloch, S., Moir, J., & Kraus, S. (2014). Female North Atlantic right whales produce gunshot sounds. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135(4), 2369-2369.

Trygonis, V., Gerstein, E., Moir, J., & McCulloch, S. (2013). Vocalization characteristics of North Atlantic right whale surface active groups in the calving habitat, southeastern United States. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(6), 4518-4531.

Gerstein, E., Brady, B., Weeks, R., Bossart, G., Goldstein, J., & McCulloch, S. (2011). Passive acoustic recording to build acoustic catalogs to remotely monitor resident individuals and the health of the dolphin population in the Indian River Lagoon system in Florida. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130, 2420.

Older Publications:

Gerstein E.R. and J.E., Blue (2005) Ship strike acoustics, select papers of MTS / IEEE society, One Ocean (2) 1190‐ 1197, ISBN: 0‐933957

Blue, J.E. and E.R. Gerstein (2005) “Acoustical causes of vessels collisions with marine mammals”  Chapter 16, in Sounds in the Seas: Introduction to Acoustical Oceanography, Herman Medwin and colleagues (eds.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.

Gerstein, E. R. (2002) Manatees, bioacoustics and boats, American Scientist (90) 154‐163.

Gerstein, E.R., Blue, J.E., and Forsythe, S.E. (2002) Near-surface sound propagation: a key to alerting right whales of approaching ships. DoD / NUWC contract report N6660‐01‐M‐4765.

Gerstein E., Gerstein L., Forsythe S., and J. Blue (1999). Underwater audiogram of a West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 105, 3575‐83.

Gerstein E. R. and L. A Gerstein (1997). Extended higher frequency hearing in West Indian Manatees Tech Report 3 DACW39‐92R‐0112, WES, Vicksburg, MS.

Gerstein E. R. and L. A Gerstein (1996). Underwater masked thresholds of pulsed and continuous tones in West Indian manatees Tech Report 2 DACW39‐92R‐0112, WES, Vicksburg, MS.

Gerstein E.R. and J.E. Blue (1996). Near-surface acoustic properties of manatee habitats at King's Bay submarine base. Tech Report 3 DACW39‐92R‐0112, WES, Vicksburg, MS.

Gerstein, E.R. (1994). The manatee mind: Discrimination training for sensory perception testing of West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus). Marine Mammals Public Display and research (1) 10-21.

Scholarly Activities

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